State & Local Taxation

Crowell & Moring provides state tax advice and representation to large corporations across the nation. Our tax lawyers have represented clients for decades in virtually every state on a wide variety of state tax issues. Our state tax practice focuses on: (1) multistate tax planning and consulting; (2) state tax audit controversy assistance, settlement, and litigation; and (3) recovery of state tax refunds. Our lawyers have decades of multistate experience in state income and franchise taxes, sales and use taxes, gross receipts taxes, and unclaimed property. Our state tax clients include Fortune 500 companies across the industry spectrum, including retailers and manufacturers, providers of digital goods, service providers, and financial service institutions.

We regularly advise clients on state tax matters related to M&A transactions and bankruptcies, as well as on the filing implications of new legislation, regulations, and judicial developments. Our broad experience in state tax planning and litigation enables us to alert our clients to best practices and to help them improve their state tax efficiency. We work closely with our clients in the defense of state tax audits, where much of our work takes place beyond the glare of publicity that companies seek to avoid. Our experience includes negotiating confidential multistate voluntary disclosure agreements, developing policy positions and, where appropriate, providing tax opinions to support our clients' filing positions. When necessary, we have the resources and experience to represent clients throughout court systems and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, our long and broad experience as state tax advisors and litigators for many sophisticated clients enables us to identify and prosecute refund claims — or offsets to audit assessments — as part of Crowell's multidisciplinary "recovery" practice.

Our state tax partners bring a wealth of experience, including corporate tax leadership (Fortune 100 vice president of taxes), Big 4 tax leadership (national partner in charge of state tax technical services), peer recognition (chair of the American Bar Association State & Local Tax Committee), and faculty appointments to Georgetown University Law Center.

Representative Engagements

  • Defended a major global conglomerate and its subsidiaries in state tax audit challenges by many states alleging lack of economic substance and non-tax business purpose, expense disallowance, and forced combination.
  • Favorably settled Hawaii's largest state tax dispute in just two months, following predecessor counsel's four years of unsuccessful efforts.
  • Defended a Fortune 100 company in an intangible holding company case brought by a coalition of states claiming more than $1 billion in back taxes.
  • Obtained a rare victory in an intangible holding company case before the New Mexico Supreme Court for one of the world's largest mass retailers.
  • Authored amicus briefs and cert petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court on issues such as work product protection and constitutional challenges to state tax statutes on the grounds of discrimination, unfair apportionment, and nexus.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 taxpayer in one of the largest tax controversies in Massachusetts.
  • Reduced a leading restaurant chain's nationwide state tax exposure through anonymous "voluntary disclosure agreements" in many states.
  • Advised a leading high-tech equipment manufacturer concerning the income and sales tax implications of a series of complex domestic and international restructuring transactions.